Yeast infection: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Alternative Names: Candidisis.
Yeast infection is a fungus that causes a condition known as candidiasis, a disease caused by, Candida, especially Candida albicans. It is found naturally in living things and it is associated with infections which can be superficial or even internal. Yeast is single-celled and it requires favorable environments for it to reproduce. A yeast overgrowth is often referred to as an infection by yeast, simply yeast infection.
A yeast infection can occur in a variety of forms. Just a few types of yeast infections can include skin yeast infections, vaginal yeast infections, nail yeast infections, penis yeast infections, and oral yeast infections. All of these types of infections can be unpleasant. Yeast infections occur because of an overgrowth of the naturally occurring Candida albicans.
A yeast infection is caused by candida albicans. This is a type of yeast fungus occurring naturally inside the body. It can be found in the mouth, digestive tract, and stomach and it has an important function in the digestive process. This fungus is used by your body to process essential nutrients; in the right amounts it is actually very important.
Candida favors sugary environments, so people with high blood sugar content due to sugars in the diet, or diabetes, have a more favorable environment that allows it to flourish. A weak immune system also contributes to candida overgrowths.
Engaging in unprotected sex with your partner while they have an active vaginal or penile yeast infection means that you are likely to contract one too.
Risk factors for yeast infections include:
- Recent antibiotic use, for example for a urinary tract infection.
- Using the birth control pill or another form of hormonal contraception.
- Hormonal changes due to menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
- Wearing tight clothes, particularly non-cotton underwear or pants.
- Wearing moist clothing for extended periods, such as workout or swimwear.
- Having diabetes.
- Having leukemia or AIDS, both conditions that damage the immune system.
For elderly, yeast infection is more commonly found is mouth. When yeast infection occurs in mouth it is called thrush. Thrush: oral lesions consisting of painless, discrete white plaques that adhere on the oral and pharyngeal mucosa.
Some symptoms of a male yeast infection can include pain while urination or sexual intercourse, a rash or swelling along the shaft or tip of the penis and in rare cases a discharge. However in some cases male yeast infections are difficult to spot as the symptoms are very mild and not noticeable
For a skin yeast infection, some of the symptoms can include redness, soreness, white patches on the skin, a rash, itchiness, and flaky skin.
With an oral yeast infection you may notice bad breath, corner mouth cracks, and white patches in the mouth that are sore.
The most obvious symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include, thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese that most women experience. Along with this discharge, other vaginal yeast infection signs include: Severe vaginal itching, burning and irritation in the vaginal area.
Diagnosing yeast infections involves a brief visit to your health care provider. Sometimes a physical examination or knowledge of your medical history is sufficient for a diagnosis. Other times your doctor may want to conduct a test to determine if it is indeed a yeast infection or due to another cause.
Oral swab: Infections of the mouth may result from bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Because of this, you doctor might also take an oral swabbing from the back of your throat. This will then be cultivated to determine what exactly is causing the oral infection.
For vaginal yeast infection a small drop of vaginal discharge is taken and viewed under a microscope to look for yeast cells.
For cutaneous yeast infections. a dermatologist may also choose to take a skin sample / scratch sample to examine underneath a microscope to confirm his visual inspection.
Topical, local antifungal medication may be prescribed by your doctor to treat cutaneous, oral, and genital area infections. Antifungal medications may be prescription strength, or, in the case of yeast infections in the genital area, both men and women can use local antifungal creams or vaginal tablets (for women). In more severe cases, an ingestible (oral) antifungal medication may be prescribed for all three types of yeast infections.
Medications for yeast infections consists of creams and suppositories, both sold over-the-counter as well as oral medications, which require a prescription. There are different versions of the over-the-counter medications.
One of the simplest natural yeast infection cures is modifying your diet. Simply eliminating sugar from your diet can have great results. While you probably enjoy foods with sugar, yeast loves and lives on sugar too. This means that you need to begin avoiding foods that include sugar. This can include syrups, baked goods, fruits high in sugar, milk products that contain sugar, fruit juices, and alcohol.
If you prefer a more natural solution, then look for acidophilus tablets that help to kill off the yeast. Natural yogurt also contains live acidophilus bacteria. Some women may choose to apply yogurt containing this bacteria directly to their vagina to clear up their yeast infection. Also, you may want to take steps to help prevent a yeast infection from occurring in the first place. Make paste from garlic cloves and apply it over the area of vagina. This will cause some burning but it will give relief from the yeast infection by reducing the growth of candida fungus.
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